Bud Smith taps into the magic in his poetry collection Everything Neon. I was held captive by his voice, a compelling weaver of contemporary narrative poetry that resonates on nearly every page. There is a passion for life to be found here, and profound moments that shine through like white flashes of lightning in the windows. Bud doesn’t have a pretentious bone in his vocabulary. Whether he is in love, missing his love, or finding new love in his surroundings, you will want to see through his eyes for a while.
There are themes that run through the work that make it a cohesive package. Repeated again and again are things that become neon, elements of ordinary life like magazines left on a radiator, the familiar birds or a moon that scrapes the tops of buildings, finding a parking space or losing the car keys, listening to vinyl records, etc. The best are the moments of clarity that seem to pop out of nowhere in surprising fashion, like when a girl at a laundromat suddenly says, “the secret to life is soap.” Or “society is full of too many people / who never built their own roller coaster.” Some of my favorite poems in the collection are the ones that read like quickly jotted notes or to do lists, with interesting vignettes under each heading.
There’s lots to find and admire in this work, and lots you will want to return to and linger over, to appreciate the subtlety and depth, which runs as deep as any silver river or ocean that you may or may not live beside. It’s accessible poetry, humble and real poetry, coming from a true place that few manage to get to in their writing or their art. Whether you are a lover of poetry, or someone just getting your feet wet in the world of verse, you could do much worse than this book, but I don’t know if you could do much better. This collection will stick with you, and haunt your thoughts. The true test is will it make you want to write your own words, and for me, it’s already germinating, and that’s all you could ask from any writer – inspire me. Thanks for sticking your fingers in my skull and giving my brain a good shake.